The Kansas City Star lays out the issue in this front page story.
One landlord association states:
“Having a leaky roof is way better than having no roof.”
- Kim Tucker, executive director of the Mid-America Association of Real Estate Investors
“So does that mean it’s okay to sell a car with defective brakes? Serve food which is unsanitary or let children go to school who have not been immunized? This attitude is troubling. It’s basically, ‘You should be thankful for what you get.’ This isn’t charity. Renters are paying $8,000 to $10,000 (annually) and should have a safe, habitable place for what they pay.”
- Colleen Hernandez, Citizens for Healthy Homes.
Kansas City (MO) Faces a HUGE Rental Housing Challenge
Listen to a recent discussion of the issue on KCUR
The Petition requires the Kansas City, Mo. City Council to enact the Healthy Homes Ordinance.
LANDLORD PERMIT. The Ordinance requires all landlords to secure a permit for their rental apartments and homes from the City Health Department.
INSPECTIONS. It also allows the Health Department to conduct random interior inspections and respond to complaints about dangerous and unhealthy conditions like chipping lead paint and mold. Landlords who refuse to correct these conditions are subject to fines and suspension or revocation of their permits. Landlords who fail to get a permit may be prosecuted.
COVERAGE. The Ordinance covers all rental units, including single-family homes, and homes being purchased under a contract for deed (unless the contract is recorded in the land records), but excludes duplexes where the owner lives in the duplex and rental units regularly inspected under a HUD subsidy program.
FEES. Landlords must pay an annual fee of $20 per rental unit. Part of the revenue from the fees will be used by the Health Department to prevent childhood lead poisoning and to pay relocation costs for tenants forced to move due to dangerous conditions.
TENANT RIGHTS. Tenants must be given a copy of the landlord’s permit, and tenants are protected from retaliation when they make complaints. Except for inspections requested by a tenant, the Health Department must give tenants a five-day notice before conducting an inspection. A tenant may refuse to allow an inspection unless the Health Department secures a court order.
REGULATIONS. The Health Department is required to develop rules and regulations detailing what constitutes a health and safety violation.
ADVISORY BOARD. An advisory board appointed by the Mayor will advise the Health Department on implementation and will include representatives of landlords, tenants and community associations.
Nearly 24,000 Kansas Citians may be threatened by unsafe rental housing. Yet the city has no specific regulatory scheme to ensure renters live in homes that meet minimum health standards.
On August 7th KCMO voters will have the opportunity to vote YES on Question one to institute an interior inspection program for our neighbors who rent.
Our residents and renters deserve what renters in Kansas City (KS), Independence and Mission already have — a way to ensure rental units are safe and habitable.